Cricket: Middlesex must make changes says Law

Stuart Law at Lord's during his first conference as Middlesex CCC's new head coach. CREDIT MIDDLESEX

Stuart Law at Lord's during his first conference as Middlesex CCC's new head coach. CREDIT MIDDLESEX CRICKET - Credit: Archant

Middlesex must add more experience to their squad if they are to reverse their slide down the Specsavers County Championship table next season, according to head coach Stuart Law.

The Seaxes, who were crowned county champions only three years ago, ended the campaign occupying a lowly eighth place in Division Two - their worst finish since they were next to last in 2010.

Law, who left his role as West Indies coach to take charge in January, had already stressed the need for a change of mentality in the Middlesex dressing-room.

But the former Australia batsman acknowledges that the county also need to recruit during the winter - targeting senior players with more know-how to help the youngsters along.

"We haven't achieved what we wanted to achieve," said Law. "There's going to be some change around and we can possibly look at bringing players in.

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The players that are here have tried their hardest and there's no question their work ethic is super high.

"But sometimes the game management and game decisions have let us down and also inexperience. We need to address those problems and start putting things in place.

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"You give every opportunity to your local players - that was the remit at the start of the season and we've given them every opportunity to put a case forward.

"Some have gone okay, some have been not as good as they know they can be and that comes down to a lack of experience.

"It's great to have experienced players out there talking them through a situation as they're going through it themselves - it's very powerful and we may look to do that."

Middlesex's recruitment process has already begun with the signing of former West Indies paceman Miguel Cummins, who featured in their last three games of the season as an overseas player, on a Kolpak deal.

However, the batting line-up appears to be a more pressing concern - with Paul Stirling leaving to pursue his international career with Ireland and Dawid Malan widely expected to follow him through the exit door after resigning the captaincy.

Also departing Lord's are fast bowler Tom Barber and long-serving off-spinner Ollie Rayner, with the club confirming that their contracts would not be renewed.

Rayner spent much of the summer on loan at Kent after slipping down the pecking order behind Nathan Sowter, whose Middlesex contract has been extended until 2021.

Sowter produced stellar performances in white-ball cricket last season and, while he is yet to secure a regular place in the County Championship side, Law envisages a bright future for the leg-spinner.

"Nathan had a great 50-over tournament and there's no reason why he can't do that in red-ball cricket as well," added the coach.

"It's a similar role in that he provides us with an attacking option and leg-spinners are more attacking than finger-spinners. Even when there's not much turn, he's containing very well.

"In four-day cricket, you've got to bide your time and earn the right to take wickets when it does turn on the last day."

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